William E. Bennett

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William Edward "Bill" Bennett

(Political science professor
at Campbellsville University in Kentucky)

Born December 24, 1942
Died April 3, 2006
Campbellsville, Taylor County
Political Party Democrat
Spouse Estella Carolyn Davis Bennett

Bryan Edward Bennett
Aaron Coy Bennett 

Not to be confused with Bill Bennett, the Secretary of Education in the Reagan administration

William Edward Bennett, also known as Bill Bennett (December 24, 1942 – April 3, 2006),[1] was from 1970 until his death a political science professor at Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, Kentucky.

A native of Colorado, Bennett graduated from CU in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. He received his Master of Arts in political science in 1971 from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green and his Ph.D. in 1982 from the University of Southern Mississippi at Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Bennett came to CU the year after William Randolph "Randy" Davenport became the college president in 1969. In his thirty-six years at CU, Bennett taught some six thousand students. Called a true “Christian professor," Bennett was a member of the Little Vine Primitive Baptist Church in Campbellsville. In 1996, he was named the CU "distinguished professor."[2]

His colleagues at Campbellsville included Bobby R. Himes and Gilbert R. Tredway. Another colleague, Damon R. Eubank, professor and chaiman of the CU Division of Social Science, was a student of Bennett’s and later a colleague when Eubank came to CU to teach history. Eubank recalled how Bennett "could engage students, and he brought passion to teaching. He was an idealist who believed we could change the world through politics.” Eubank further described Bennett as a “teacher and lover of learning" who was "skilled,” “gifted,” “loved by students,” “eager to teach and have his students learn,” “great personal friend,” “dedicated and talented teacher,” “always going the extra mile,” “loyal and committed,” and “competitive.”[2]

Bennett served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. For a time, he was an elected member of the Taylor County School Board; among his school board colleagues was Lillian Bruner Clark (1931-2015), wife of Robert S. Clark, the CU vice-president for academic affairs from 1976 to 1988. Bennett served as president of Taylor County Academic Boosters and was a public lecturer for the Kentucky Endowment for the Humanities. He was a member of the Kentucky, Southern and National political science associations, the National Association of Social Science Educators and Pi Gamma Mu, the history society of the social sciences. He was also involved in local and state politics and raised fruit in his spare time.[2]

Bennett often told his students that they could be taught merely by sitting still, but learning  requires an active role on one's education.[2] He died at the age of sixty-three in Campbellsville of lung cancer[3] and is interred at Chappell Cemetery in Knifley in Adair County, Kentucky.[4]

In 2012, Bennett was posthumously honored by the Kentucky Political Science Association during the group's 51st annual meeting at CU. John Edward Chowning, the since retired vice president for church and external relations and former executive assistant to the CU president and the 2011-12 president of KPSA, made the presentation to Bennett's widow, the former Estella Carolyn Davis; son, Bryan Edward Bennett, a Campbellsville attorney, and grandson, Will Bennett. A second Bennett son is Aaron Coy Bennett, also of Campbellsville.[2]

A scholarship named in Bennett's honor is available annually at CU to a deserving student studying political science.[5]


  1. William Bennett of Campbellsville, KY. Mylife.com. Retrieved on December 1, 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Joan McKinney (March 28, 2012). Campbellsville University honors the late Dr. Bill Bennett. Campbellsville.edu. Retrieved on December 1, 2017.
  3. Joan C. McKinney and Maegan Kennedy (May 2006). Professor William Bennett dies. Campbellsville.edu. Retrieved on December 1, 2017.
  4. Dr. William Edward Bennett. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on December 1, 2017.
  5. Campbellsville University honors its students and faculty. Adair County Today (May 5, 2017). Retrieved on December 1, 2017.